La cgt
Publié le mardi 5 août 2008

The United Nations criticises France for its immigration policy

The UN Human Rights Committee has just criticised France for its lack of respect for the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees. One of the main criticisms of France concerns the way in which the State treats foreigners and, in particular, the fact that ‘large numbers of undocumented foreign nationals and asylum seekers are detained in unsuitable … detention centers’. It also regrets that the French State did not listen to allegations about ill treatment of foreign nationals in prisons and detention centers.

This call to order by the United Nations confirms the worrying drift observed and denounced by many trade unions and associations. This situation is particularly serious as the French ‘model’ serves as an example in Europe. In fact, Nicolas Sarkozy announced that he wanted to use the French presidency of the European Union to make immigration one of its priorities. The tone was already set by the directive on the return of illegal immigrants, which was adopted by the European parliament in June. Moreover, in October, the Council of the European Union is due to sign a ‘European pact on migration and asylum’.

This directive and the proposals have aroused the indignation of trade unions and governments in countries of emigration in Africa and Latin America - they denounce attempts to turn Europe into a fortress.

Making immigration policy the focus of French and European policy gives credit to the idea that immigration is the cause of current economic and social decline. Moreover, lumping together migration and security problems makes it possible to avoid the real issues of development of Southern countries.

The Council of the European Union and the Euro-African inter-ministerial conference, due to be held in Paris in October, will concern the issue of migration and development. They will provide an occasion for trade unions and associations that defend human rights to mobilise in defence of a different conception of immigration and a different relationship between the European Union, Africa and the rest of the world.